About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

New Very old doorbell

When we moved here, there was an electric doorbell that didn't work, as they often don't. We removed it and since then, have had to listen for a knock, often running to the door when Pebble scratches her ear while sitting next to something, or going to the wrong door as we can't tell which one is being knocked on.

I inherited a rather fine brass bell. Grandma said it came from a monastery, but then she said the little spice chest was Jacobean - a view not shared by the probate officer. In any case, it's a very fine bell and I rather fancied it for doorbell. Not long after we moved here, we replace a couple of wall lights and I kept the brackets, thinking I might find a use for them...

Doorbell suspended from old light fitting

As you can see, the bell has two holes in the top. I used one of these to support the weight of the bell, taking a strip of leather from one of my old shoes and sewing it into a loop. Doing this job first made every subsequent job awkward and noisy. I used the other hole for the ringing mechanism which was, in essence, a bit of string. However, making that bit of string work proved more complicated than I had initially anticipated.

My first attempt followed the path of the electric wire that had formerly powered the light, going up from the bell, through a hole in the bracket, then along a channel in the top of the bracket. Because I didn't want the bell pull to go into the wall, I cut a side channel to allow the string to come down in a convenient position.


First attempt at bit-of-string pull mechanism

Unfortunately, friction proved my enemy. It was possible to make the bell ring, but one had to pull very hard indeed. My neighbour, who kindly tested the bell for me on a number of visits, almost pulled the bell off the wall when she finally pulled hard enough to make it sound. Back to the drawing board.

I thought about it, and thought about it some more, and just as I was falling asleep, the solution came to me! Remarkably, I remembered my bright idea the next day. Off to the workshop I went in search of useful things...


Exactly what I needed!

Even better, there was a bent tent peg close by that was just the right thickness to go through those holes in the middle of the Useful Things. With the application of some superglue, a hammer, pliers, and most importantly a pipe-and-stick gadget whose name I don't know, in spite of the fact it was still in its packaging...

Bit of string now has a pulley to go round. Considering how easily tent pegs bend when you don't want them to, it was very hard to make one into this shape!

With the string now rising straight up to a pulley, there is far less friction and the doorbell works easily. Now all I have to do is rig up another bit of string to the other door, and a second bell so they don't sound the same. I think I'll leave that for another day.

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